The big men from Chipilo
THE BIG MEN FROM CHIPILO
Chipilo, Puebla, Mexico, November/December 2014
Diambra Mariani and Francesco Mion
Chipilo is a small Mexican village with 4000 inhabitants that was founded in 1882 by immigrants
from the northern italian region of Veneto. It is located in the state of Puebla.
Most of the people who live there came from the town of Segusino, Treviso, but also from the province of Belluno. On one hand, Venetians arrived in Mexico to leave behind their poverty; on the other, Mexico needed immigrants to repopulate the country after the Indipendence.
They needed people with agricultural skills, healthy and Catholic, and Venetians perfectly fitted the profile; during the years, they developed their skills in the production of cheese and founded
a thriving fornitures industry.
After 130 years, they are still speaking a Venetian dialect and keep alive some of the Venetian traditions, such as playing ‘bocce’ (bowls) or, on 6 of January, burning a witch made of straw in the main square of the village. Most people from this town have nicknames which travel on through generations.
The inhabitants of Chipilo (cipilegni) are very proud of their origins, but they acquired, over the years, many Mexican traditions too, and the result is a strange mixture between two different cultures.